LETTER: Solar project discussion should have been public

Decision by Summerland council was made during a closed session

Dear Editor:

The Gas Tax Funding Committee of UBCM has outlined conditions to be met for the Summerland Integrated Solar Project.

These conditions include a project feasibility study that includes a completed life-cycle cost-benefit analysis.

They also include providing the Gas Tax Management Committee with a final report, no later than March 31, 2019, identifying how the conditions have been met.

Council has only now asked for an appraisal of the land and has not addressed decommissioning costs. Council has not even said how long the solar site will be in the Cartwright Mountain location. No rational business decision can made without this information, therefore the financial reports prepared to date are meaningless.

READ ALSO: LETTER: Summerland solar project should be located elsewhere

READ ALSO: LETTER: Summerland solar project should be reviewed

Furthermore, per Coun. Richard Barkwill’s review, $2,800,000 of design, engineering, construction, installation, and commissioning costs will go to waste because this is a temporary location. Would you build a house, only to tear it all down and rip out the foundations in a few years? What a waste of money!

The decision to put the solar project in a temporary location was made in a closed meeting of council on Feb. 27, 2019, based on a report provided to council that day, and a verbal presentation by staff.

This was a critical land use decision concerning a major piece of district-owned land that was made in secret.

There has been one session where the solar plan was presented to the public, but no discussion on the merits of the location versus alternative locations, and no public discussion by council concerning the location.

The proposed location is in the Urban Growth Area, adjacent to current services and previously considered the first step for growth to the west in Summerland. Choosing this site suddenly changes the previous plan with no consultation and makes unavailable land that is badly required for affordable housing.

Lorraine Bennest

Summerland

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